How to win a footy tipping competition
The invitation came via email. “Join The Punch mini-league. It’ll be fun”. As usual, they left it so late that the NRL league didn’t start until week 2 of the season but we got the AFL comp underway in time.
I was already in a couple of other tipping comps but they’re all online these days so what difference does a few extra mouse clicks make on a Friday morning?
Anyway, I started pretty strongly, took the lead by mid-season and was lucky enough to hang on to it for the rest of the season. My prize? Turns out it was to write a piece on how I did it. It’s a bit like winning “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” and finding out the prize is getting to do something “a little special” with Drew Carey. So, this is how I did it, or how I think I did it, or the approach I took, or some Zen-like sounding thing to cover up the fact that anyone who wins a tipping comp jags it.
Put your tips in every week – This is a no brainer. Don’t miss a week. If you know you will, put them in early, or get a friend to do it, or something. There’s no honour in giving up halfway through the year when you can’t win either. It doesn’t count if you don’t go all the way to the end. There’s honour in putting in tips every week and running 24th. There’s none in blousing out.
Consistency – I didn’t tip a perfect round this year in either the NRL or the AFL. I tipped 7/8 5 times in the AFL though. Apart from that resulting in me regularly cursing the Crows, who cost me the perfect round three times, it did allow me to stay close to the top. Unfortunately The Punch comp gives bonus points for perfect rounds, which meant that the jaggy bastards behind me stayed far closer than they should have dammit!
Strategies – In any given round there are a number of games that are a lock. Get those right and you’re well on the way. They key is to get the 50/50 games right. That’s where you start to look at injuries, home/away, who’s playing their 300th, who has a bad record interstate etc when you’re picking the winner. I always go with my gut and NEVER change. If you change your tip you can guarantee you’ll end up getting it wrong and curse your stupidity all weekend. It’s just not worth it. There are already enough things in life to curse your stupidity about without adding to it with dumb footy tipping stategy.
Curse bonus points – I already mentioned this. But curse them anyway!
Don’t tell other people who you tipped – Especially when you’re in contention. Tell them at the pub on Friday night after tipping has closed, or on Monday when you’ve scored 3 more than them, but not during. Gloating is ok if youhave something to back it up with (ie – performance) and it’s also ok when it shows you’ve remembered to do your tips and they’ve forgotten, or that they didn’t realise it was Brent Harvey’s 300th on the weekend but giving them time to lodge them when they clearly don’t deserve it just doesn’t make sense.
Don’t change your strategy when in front – If it worked to get you to a 2 point lead with 2 rounds to go, it’ll get you to the finish line. Don’t start second guessing what everyone else will tip and taking the safe option. You can guarantee that not only will the upsets start to happen, but that they will anticipate you taking the safe option and tip the other way in response. If you go down, go down swinging, not blocking.
Luck – When it all comes down to it, you won’t win the tipping comp without luck. We can all claim to be experts in this, that and the other, but , in the end, I don’t know too many people who have backed up to win the office tipping comp two years in a row, let alone three. Accept your season with dignity (and just the right amount of bragging) and make sure you use your winnings to shout at least the first round at the pub. Any less than that is un-Australian.
Furthermore, you have to re-register next season, whether you want to or not, to give everyone else a chance to have another crack at you. Only a change of workplace is an acceptable excuse for getting out of this obligation, and even then sometimes that’s not enough.
So there you have it. After all that, it’s probably highly unlikely that I’ll be writing this again next year, because I’ll have finished an honourable 15th. You can guarantee though that I’ll lodge my tips every week no matter what. It’s just what you do.
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